Packers Reach ‘Right Ending’ by Re-Signing Crosby

Bill Huber

GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers’ longtime kicker, Mason Crosby, hadn’t tested free agency before and he won’t test it now.

According to agent Mike McCartney, the Packers and Crosby agreed to a three-year contract on Saturday.

“I think when you have a guy who has been through the fire like Mason has, for a guy in my position, it makes us feel very comfortable,” general manager Brian Gutekunst said on Friday. “He obviously had an excellent year last year. He’s a big part of our team, a big part of what we’re trying to do here. I’m very hopefully that that will reach the right ending.”

About 30 hours later, McCartney announced the happy ending via Twitter.

According to ESPN.com, the deal is worth $12.9 million, including a first-year payday of $6 million in terms of signing bonus and salary. That $4.3 million average trails only Baltimore's Justin Tucker ($5.0 million) and San Francisco's Robbie Gould ($4.75 million) among kickers.

The reasons for signing Crosby, a seventh-round pick in 2007, were obvious. He had the best season of his career from an accuracy standpoint, his 22-of-24 on field goals equating to 91.7 percent – his first season of 90-plus percent in his 13-year career. In fact, since his infamous five-miss game at Detroit in Week 5 of the 2018 season, Crosby has missed a total of five kicks in his last 29 games: 41-of-45 on field goals and 72-of-73 on extra points. Including one missed extra point this year, Crosby missed a total of three kicks while making game-winners in both games against Detroit. That resume would have made him arguably the top kicker on the free-agent market.

“I’ve been so fortunate to have a few contracts here,” Crosby said at the end of the season. “I’ve never hit free agency. We’ll see if that happens again. I’m optimistic that we’ll at least have the conversations and, hopefully, try to get something done.”

Moreover, he’s got priceless experience in cold-weather games. While good kickers can be found on a budget, there are no guarantees. Look no further than Minnesota. The Vikings drafted Daniel Carlson in the fifth round in 2018 and traded a fifth-round pick for Kaare Vedvik in 2019. Neither played for the Vikings this season. Chicago’s troubles have been well-documented. Tennessee’s menagerie of kickers combined to make an unthinkable 44.4 percent.

Crosby will turn 36 on Sept. 3. In his age-36 season, Gould made 97.1 percent of his field-goal attempts for San Francisco. During four seasons from age 43 through age 46, Adam Vinatieri made a combined 87.4 percent of his field-goal attempts.

“Taking care of the mind as much as I do my body,” Crosby said of the key to success at his age. “Just making sure that through this next couple weeks, the next couple months, get my mind-set right to prepare for another offseason and another season. It’s long. To think about where we started in April to this point, it’s been a long year and a lot of mental and physical stress. I’ll take a couple weeks here, get the mind and body right, and start going into offseason mode and preparing for another, regardless of what the situation holds.”

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